Winter break extended at area schools

Calamity day plans put in action by districts


Alicia McKinley, 8, right, and her twin sister, Alyssa, stay warm Monday afternoon in the midst of subzero temperatures outdoors by playing educational computer games at the Knowlton Library, 220 N. Main St. (EXAMINER PHOTO | MANDY LOEHR)

While Monday was a “snow day” for many area students, most children did not head out- side to build a snowman or to engage in a fun-filled snow fight. Instead, subzero temperatures and dangerous wind chills forced them to stay inside, searching for activities to fill another day of an extended holi- day break.

The chilly forecast continues for today, so the students’ lengthy stay at home likely will continue with an additional day of cancellations, school officials said Monday afternoon.

Seeking a warm environment with child-friendly activities, some families ventured to the Logan County Libraries, which was open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, and also will be open during those hours today.

At the library Monday, Bellefontaine Elementary School second-graders and twins Alyssa and Alicia McKinley were engrossed in an educational computer game. Their mother, Heather Predmore, said she was happy to make the short trek to the library so her daughters could have fun while she worked on tax paperwork.

“I figured we’d come here to get out of the house a little bit. They love playing on the computers here, and we also renewed their library cards today. They’re really big readers.”

Also during the extended winter break, some students will be working on class work. Many area schools have adopted online options for pupils to make up work if the district has surpassed its five-day limit for calamity days.

This provision was put in place last year through House Bill 153, and it allows schools to make up three days of school beyond the allotted five days.

Benjamin Logan Schools hit this mark Monday by using its sixth calamity day, and the district is offering course work for all grade levels on its Web site,

“We’ve had this program in place since last year, but we only missed five days last school year, so we didn’t have to use it,” Superintendent Lori Lytle said.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how it works. We like that it will allow the kids to be in charge of their own learning. We think it will especially be a hit with our middle school and high schoolers.

“We realize that with our elementary school students, it will require a lot of parent involvement.”

Ms. Lytle said for students without Internet access, they will be provided with the make-up materials once school is back in session and they will have two weeks to complete the lessons.

“We’re trying to focus on the learning component here,” she said. “We think this is a good option to allow us to avoid possibly extending the school year into the summer.”

Indian Lake and Riverside were at five days Monday. Both of these districts also have online make-up options available as well.

As of Monday, West Liberty-Salem Schools has used four calamity days, and Bellefontaine City Schools has used three.